What is the proudest accomplishment of your career thus far?
Wow! What a hard question to answer. My proudest moments center around the amazing people who have committed, and often recommitted, their talents to come work with me. I have had the privilege of returning to automotive alongside StoneEagle’s phenomenal leaders — including my husband and the extremely talented executive team. Many executives choose to leave an organization when a new CEO is brought in from the outside, but they, instead, placed their total confidence and trust in me.
I have also had the honor of recruiting former employees from my decade in travel technology. These rock stars left the comforts of an industry they know extremely well to work alongside me in automotive. Watching them succeed at StoneEagle’s mission of improving people’s lives by solving problems and increasing dealership performance makes me so proud. And despite a lifetime of sharing her parents with this industry, my daughter not only chose to invest her talent with StoneEagle, but is frequently sought after to drive and support critical initiatives, because she is so effective! Truly talented people can thrive in any role. I am grateful that so many of them have chosen to place their faith both in StoneEagle and in me as their CEO.
What is your best advice to other women who want to excel in the automotive industry?
Choose to look for those who will be honest, challenging and support you. I believe you can find whatever you are really looking for. If you are always on the lookout for people who will hold you back, you will find them. But likewise, if you are on the lookout for people who will support and mentor you, you will definitely find them as well. So, choose to spend your energy looking for and engaging with people and opportunities that will push you forward rather than giving any energy or focus to people or things that may hold you back.
What are some of the ways you have seen the industry support women?
More and more, organizations are recognizing great talent and promoting women to prominent roles. There are examples throughout OEMs, TPAs, agencies, dealerships and automotive tech firms, like StoneEagle. No longer are women only working in accounting or administration. Today, more and more women are stepping into the previously male-dominated dealership sales and F&I roles. And several industry publications and media organizations, like AutoSuccess, not only have female leadership, but take the time to pause and recognize the great achievements women are making in automotive.
What is one thing the industry could do better/differently to support women?
Invite women to the table, the golf game, the leadership training courses, the strategic brainstorming sessions and the stage more often, so that their ideas, perspective and talents can help drive impact and results for everyone. You’ll discover that women are as passionate about cars as men when you invite them to “Cars & Coffee” or into the “car guy talk”!